Sunday, December 14, 2014

Maria Biscuits

A Maria is a type of sweet biscuit similar to a Rich tea biscuit. While the Rich tea biscuit is the most popular version of this biscuit in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man, it is the Maria version that is most popular in most other countries, particularly Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Brazil, Mauritius, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Egypt.

The biscuit is round and usually has its name embossed upon its top surface, the edges of the which are also embossed with an intricate design. It is made with wheat flour, sugar, palm oil or sunflower seed oil and, unlike the Rich tea biscuit, is typically vanilla flavoured. In Norway it is labelled "Palm oil free" (Uten palmeolje).

The Maria biscuit was created by the London bakery Peek Freans in 1874 to commemorate the marriage of the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna of Russia to the Duke of Edinburgh. It became popular throughout Europe, particularly in Spain where, following the Civil War, the biscuit became a symbol of the country's economic recovery after bakeries produced mass quantities to consume a surplus of wheat.